As the mother of girls, I think it’s important that we talk about how women are viewed in our culture and how we want them to be viewed.
Ideally, all people would be judged not by how they look, but by their actions, their words and how they treat others. We know, for a fact, this doesn’t happen, especially in this era of the social media Wild West where anyone with an internet connection can say anything they want about anyone in the world.
It concerns me that we are still accepting that it’s OK to talk about women’s body parts, how they dress and what they look like versus what they are contributing from a professional and intellectual standpoint. Yet, we rarely focus on the way a man looks when we discuss his work or his viewpoint. Granted, there are exceptions to this when it comes to very high profile people, but, for the most part, the tightness of a man’s pants or cut of his shirt rarely comes up in regular conversation.
I base these observations partly on feedback I have received over the years, both positive and negative. It’s nice when someone compliments the way you look, but it’s even better when someone compliments you for what you do. Because we have stake in what we do. Most of us work hard and appreciate being recognized for our achievements. But we have only a limited control over how we look - young, old, tall, short, stout, thin, white, black, brunette, brown-eyed- most of this is determined by genetics.
So, I ask parents of girls to join with me and let’s change our point of view when it comes to describing women. It requires a change in the way we think and a change in the way we talk. Let’s find ways to describe the women in our lives based on their brains, their talents and their compassion versus their physical attributes. We have the power to change the conversation one girl, one woman at a time.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.